We have continued the work on the “Front Yard Oasis” this fall. The design is coming together and it is even more stunning then the computer generated design. We have continued excavation of the river bed. What we originally thought would be 3 to 4 more yards of waste has become 9 to 10 yards of excavation. Painstakingly done with shovels and wheel barrows. The yard is very rocky so we have sifted through much of the waste to keep the larger rocks to incorporate back into the dry river bed we will be creating.
The garden bed areas are now all installed and filled with organic soil, peat moss, bone meal and blood meal…and are ready to plant. A path way will be installed to run along the river bed to allow stepping access to the garden areas and to visually separate the patio from the river bed. The path will consist of 3 inches of rainbow rock that has been purchased at “Hillside Stone & Garden” near Duncan BC. We will be using low edging along the pathway that Beryl – our garden owner has purchased. It will help to define the edges of the river bed and the pathway as well as the patio and will keep the decorative rock from mixing with the river bed. We excavated the path down to approximately 3 1/2 inches to ensure the path will be slightly lower then the patio so the stone will not migrate onto the patio.
These are the original designs on paper. In a future post I will post the original designs with the actual designs to show the evolution of creating a garden space and how similar and also how different it becomes. There will be many areas that mirror the designs but also differences as there are always changes and challenges that come with such an undertaking.
Call us today to do all of your fall clean up including pruning and trimming your hedges, shrubs, annuals, perennials and take away the waste. When your bill is $500, you will receive a $50 gift card. Book $1000 or more and receive a $100 gift card.
Do you have a small clean up job…then book 2 hours with us and receive $10 off of your bill!
We will beautify your outdoor space, take away the waste, plant your spring bulbs, plant a hedge or a single tree…whatever you desire…we will create it! Now is a great time of year to have your gardens re-designed or a new garden installed…we do both hardscaping and softscaping…and we are good at it! We love what we do and would love to show you. We will winterize your gardens to ensure they thrive over the winter and into next season. Add mulch to protect the roots from winter weather, great for weed management and will beautify your outdoor space!
Call Kathleen for a free estimate today! 250-802-0461
One of the biggest challenges of gardening is how to protect our precious plants and trees from being eaten. On Vancouver Island, (a temperate rainforest) it is one of our greatest challenges. We do not get the cold snowy winters with inches of frozen ground and plants dying back until spring. Rather, we have greenery all year and can garden year round most years. This creates a greater challenge as the deer and other rodents too are active and seeking sustenance all year long. The deer have a natural mechanism built into their DNA that allows them to remember where they found food and to pass this information on to their off spring, as do other creatures. The deer population on Vancouver Island is at an all time high due to the increased human population pushing the boundaries of nature and with less predators lurking in their midst, the deer have thrived. Our gardens represent a bounty of unlimited greens all year long!
There are many ways to minimize the damage done by deer and other plant eating critters. I would strongly recommend using as many as possible to manage if not eliminate the problems or at the very least to successfully protect your garden gems. Yes, the deer are beautiful and are protected so minimizing the appetite of these gracious creatures is a must to protect your gardens and create harmony for all. Keeping deer at bay from the garden is important for many reasons, not only to protect your plants, but to minimize the risk of Lyme’s Disease from the dreaded ticks that deer can carry. I have compiled a list of how to control deer and other rodents in the gardens to help keep you, your pets and your plants safe!
- Do your due diligence and choose as many plants as possible that deer and other rodents do not like to dine on. Ask your local garden centre for advice or down load a list here.
- Fence your garden area to keep deer out. Although this can be costly and extreme, it will solve the problem completely. Remember, deer can jump a fence 6 feet high or more. If you choose to put a fence up, try to fit it with your garden design to add to the landscape rather then making it unsightly. If you do not want or cannot afford to fence in the entire garden area, then adding a fence around each fruit tree or rose bush is also an option…one that also works…although it too can be unsightly in your garden.
- Choose plants with strong scents that deer do not like and use them as companion plants with plants that deer do love to dine on…often the strong scented plants will deter the deer or confuse their sense of smell so they will miss dining on their favourites. Remember though, they will return to your garden again and again will probably find and feast on the plants they love so much.
- Use a product call “Plant Skydd” to deter the deer and with continued use many garden owners have stated the deer no longer come to their garden. The product is all natural, will not harm plants, pets or people and does not need to be applied after every rain fall. This is great news for gardeners and it really works!
- Plant the perimeter of your entire garden space with plants that deer do not eat. Choose different types of plants with strong scents to deter the deer from crossing the line into your garden. Deer have very sensitive noses and will often decide not to cross the line into the garden if there is a wide perimeter of smelly plants that offends their sense of smell.
This summer we did a small pruning and clean up at a property and saw the full extent of the damage deer can do in a short span of time. This cedar hedge is obviously to the deers liking. Planting cedrus or true cedars will help minimize the damage done by deer. Often deer will taste fresh new shoots on trees and plants…even the ones they are not supposed to eat but will not eat much more then a taste.
Good luck in your garden…see you in the garden or the garden centre!
In an earlier post, I uploaded a garden labyrinth design for my own back yard. The challenge is to create privacy and grow all of my own food this year. Each year I grow more of my own food and this year I would like to grow 100% of it organically. I have purchased all organic seed. This is important as seed that is not organic has residual chemicals which would be left in the soil. I have purchased organic soil from Milan on Brenton-Page road-250-667-1029 https://www.facebook.com/highlineenvironmental/
The first two garden boxes took 2 yards of soil to fill. Each box measures 4 foot x 8 foot and are 12 inches high. I placed them parallel along the south side of my driveway with enough space between them to get a lawn mower or a wheel barrow between them. This area of the yard is very wet due to the gray water from the laundry room being drained here, so it should be a perfect place for a growing medium. I have added bone meal and blood meal to the boxes and worked it in. I will test the soil today and see how high the nutrient level is and if anything more is required. In a few days I will plant some early vegetables. It is a busy season already so I will have to fit my garden time in after work as I did the last two nights. When buying seeds it is important to verify they are organic non-GMO seeds. West Coast seeds are offered for sale at almost every garden centre and many other retail outlets. They also offer mail order for convenience. They are high quality certified organic seeds and their website is a wealth of information on gardening.
See you in the garden or the garden centre! 🙂
Last year in our community two derelict houses were being demolished so we approached the project manager on site and ask about the cedar fence. It was red cedar and was still in excellent condition after years of standing. It has weathered beautifully and I knew it would be perfect for garden projects. He happily gave us the fence if we were willing to remove it, after the homes were demolished.
After removing it, one box was built and the rest of the wood stored for future projects. The original plan was to build garden boxes and sell them. Then after the move to the new home, I realized that I was not willing to part with it. The wood is perfect for my garden plan. Working out the amount of wood required for my Garden Labyrinth, I realized I had enough wood for 10 garden boxes, not including the one already built.
My biggest concern with my Labyrinth design was what wood to use in the garden. I need something that will stand up to the elements of weather here on Vancouver Island. The red cedar is perfect. It has a life span of about 20 years. The garden boxes will be built and put in place without a bottom. In order for me to utilize the gray water in my yard, it is necessary to leave the bottom open so it can draw up the ground water.
The yard which is so overgrown is actually a blessing in disguise…a labour intensive blessing, but a blessing just the same. As I prune each shrub and tree, I will chip the waste and put it in the bottom of each box. It will draw up the moisture and it will slowly break down and enrich the soil, as well as keeping it aerated. Keep in mind it does not have to be chipped, it could actually be cut in smaller pieces by hand and added to the bottom. Wood chips will be added on top of the chipped garden waste as it will retain water and minimize the need for watering. The garden boxes will be approximately 20 inches high so each box will require approximately 10 inches of waste and wood chips before the organic soil is added. The soil will be 2 inches below the top of the box.
I have not measured the yard for exact measurements as it is still covered in snow. So I know my garden plan will have to be tweaked after measuring.
In an earlier post I showed winter damage to a tree in my back yard. Here is the update, after carefully cutting the branch off at the base, I will leave the tree to heal. I will not treat it unless there is a problem with it healing. In the weeks to come, I will check on it continually to ensure that it has become diseased or infested with insects. Although the damage is considerable to the branch, it is actually a good time for it to heal, since there are few insects around at this time of year and the thaw has not happened so the sap has not started running. I would be much more concerned if it was later in the season and the sap was running and the insects were out as it could easily draw insects to its wound.
And although this is quite a big wound, the tree will be none the worse for wear if I have to cut the entire branch off. The most important thing to do is to keep checking the tree as it heals. The branch actually has two other healthy branches forking off of it, so I really would like to give the branch a chance to heal. The other branches that were broken were much smaller so it was just a matter of cutting them off.
This winter on Vancouver Island has had unusual weather patterns for the last two months. After finishing a spring garden clean up two days ago, this is what we woke up to in Ladysmith BC (mid-island on the east side of Vancouver Island).
It has finally stopped snowing…so much for spring clean ups…at least I got two finished!!!